Practice Direction No. 4/2021
With effect from the 4th October 2021, and until further notice, the following is a summary of the manner in which Legal Costs Adjudication proceedings and applications will be heard in the High Court Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators at Merchants House, 27/30 Merchants Quay, Dublin 8.
The default position will be that all proceedings will be afforded a physical hearing.
Adjudications of legal costs and associated applications that can he heard, both as fairly and effectively as they would be heard in the course of a physical hearing, will be listed for a remote hearing. In all cases parties will be entitled to apply to have the case listed otherwise than in accordance with the default position indicated in this practice direction. The Adjudicators will be mindful of the position of the parties and will consider and determine such applications on a case by case basis.
A remote call over of cases which is held, during the law term, each Thursday at 9.30am, will continue to take place remotely. At the call over, cases listed for the following week (Monday to Friday) will be called over. Any applications concerning matters listed for the following week will be dealt with. Parties are reminded of their obligation to ensure that any other party to the Adjudication, is aware of any such applications to be made. Log in details will be made available to parties on request.
Parties are obliged to inform the adjudicator on the call over as to the position in cases listed for the following week and the expected duration of the hearing, so as to permit proper planning. Cases will be given staggered times for hearings, so as to effectively control the number of people in attendance at the hearing rooms, in accordance with public health requirements.
The General Office will be closed to members of the public, save by prior appointment. Telephones will operate as normal during office hours, email, post and Dx facilities will likewise operate as normal. Email, correspondence and telephone inquiries will continue to be dealt with along normal lines. Drop Box facilities are available in Merchants House, to facilitate the physical submission of documents. This is currently located to the side of the main reception desk. The e-filing platform for the lodgement of Applications for Adjudication will continue to operate as normal through CSOL for registered users.
To enable, the above, physical hearings of Adjudications on Legal Costs to proceed in a manner which complies with public health guidance and to protect the safety of all office user’s parties are expected to adhere to following: -
- All persons attending at the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators for the hearing of an adjudication must comply with current public health advice. In particular, all such persons should engage in frequent hand washing and comply with respiratory etiquette.
- Whilst on the office premises all persons shall remain physically distanced in accordance with current Department of Health advice, which at this time is 2 meters.
- Anyone with any symptoms of Covid-19 i.e. temperature, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or cough, or who feels in anyway unwell, should not attend at the office premises and should seek healthcare advice.
- Face coverings must be worn by all persons, save for those who, for medical or other welfare considerations, cannot wear a face covering.
- The wearing of face coverings does not excuse any person or persons from their obligation to abide by social distancing requirements as these can be met, albeit with some inconvenience.
- Each adjudication room has been assessed for capacity having regard to Covid-19 restrictions. The number of persons who can be accommodated in any adjudication room will appear on the door and that number may never be exceeded. Any additional persons concerned with the case must wait beyond the precincts of the office until required.
- Only when a case is scheduled for hearing should those concerned with that adjudication enter upon the office premises. At that point all such persons should proceed directly to the adjudication room when the case should be ready to start.
- Those attending any case must, on entering the office premises proceed directly to the adjudication room and remain there until the planned sitting comes to an end, save where a witness, having completed their evidence, wishes to leave, in which case they should leave the office directly.
- No negotiations or consultations may take place at or in the office. These must be held at a different venue, preferably in the weeks or days in advance of the hearing. Any negotiations as may take be required on the day of the hearing must take place beyond the precincts of the office.
- For “track and trace purposes”, all parties who attend the hearing shall prepare in advance of the hearing and leave with the adjudicator at the conclusion of the proceedings, a document containing the name and telephone number of each individual (legal costs accountant, counsel, solicitor, party, witness/other) who entered the office in connection with the case. The names of those who did not actually attend should be removed. The consent of those listed should be obtained for GDPR purposes. Such records to be destroyed 14 days after the conclusion of the proceedings.
- Once a hearing is completed, all persons concerned must leave the building promptly.
- The persons involved in the next case will not be allowed to enter the building until it is cleared of all persons involved in the previous case. We thank you for your cooperation
Dated 27th day of September 2021
Paul M Behan
Chief Legal Costs Adjudicator
Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators
The High Court
27/30 Merchants Quay
(01) 888 6301